Robin Carnahan, finishing her final term as secretary of state, presided over the ceremony until members were sworn in. She took the opportunity to encourage expansion of the state's Medicaid program, as well as discourage the body from pursuing a photo identification requirement for voters.
But her moment passed, and Republicans - armed with a veto-proof majority in the House - took the Speaker's gavel, and the House - with unanimous support - elected State Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, to serve as Speaker.
Speaking to members of the House, Jones - whose cousin Caleb Jones also serves in the body - praised his family's positive influence on his life, and thanked them for pushing him in the direction in life that led him to pursuing public service.
Jones then went on to reflect on his recent statewide tour, which took him to 20 cities for meetings with lawmakers and business owners.
His meetings with the public and his members led him to put together his legislative proposal, which he refers to at the "Triple E" agenda.
Jones said his agenda would make Missouri the "strongest state in the nation" in terms of economic development, energy, and education policy. The policy proposals include caping liability on medical lawsuits, cutting and capping the state's tax code, expanding nuclear power in mid-Missouri, and prioritizing education funding over spending on things like Medicaid.
Democratic leader Jacob Hummel, speaking to the chamber prior to Jones, said expanding health care in the state is about job creation - pointing to a study by the Missouri Hospital Association claiming nearly 24,000 new jobs would be created if the state accepts federal funds to expand Medicaid.
Reiterating the position of Gov. Jay Nixon, Hummel said expansion is "not only the smart play economically, but the right thing to do for the people of this state."
Jones believes his party has the mandate moving forward, noting Missourians "have sent our caucus here in record numbers - veto proof majorities - because we have proven to be effective leaders."